Airway epithelial injury as a result of corticosteroid-induced apoptosis

In people living with asthma, the cells lining the airway are more sensitive to injury from allergens and other irritants. Researchers have found that these cells have an impaired ability to repair themselves following injury. Dr. Delbert Dorscheid is studying how the inhaled corticosteroids that asthmatics use to control their symptoms may actually contribute to ongoing breathing problems. While corticosteroid benefit asthmatics by suppressing the inflammation of the airway, Dr. Dorscheid’s research has shown that corticosteroid use also causes the death of cells lining the airway. In severe asthmatics, this may create a cycle of repeated injury and incomplete repair that results in permanent damage. Dr. Dorscheid’s is assessing the extent to which corticosteroids may cause permanent damage to airways and also clarifying the mechanisms by which these drugs cause cell death. His goal: the development of treatment options that will have fewer damaging side effects.